Baby Teeth & Adult Teeth: What to Expect in Pediatric Dentistry

Did you know that babies only have 20 teeth, but adults have 32? Between gaining the first set of baby teeth, losing those, then replacing them with adult teeth – it’s a lot of transition for your kiddos! Here’s exactly what to expect.

All About Baby Teeth

Babies will eventually have a total of 20 baby teeth, with 10 on the top and 10 on the bottom. In pediatric dentistry, we refer to baby teeth as primary teeth. These primary teeth usually erupt from six months to age two. 

Lower teeth usually erupt from the gums before upper teeth. Regardless of upper or lower, you can usually expect teeth to erupt in pairs, so if your child gets a tooth on the upper right jaw, it will likely be followed by a matching tooth on the upper left. You can expect your little one to hold onto their primary teeth until about age six, when they will begin to lose them.

Wondering why we spend so much time and care on baby teeth? Although they will eventually fall out and be replaced, it’s still important to care for them. Healthy baby teeth are important for good nutrition, clear speech, and they provide a good start for the permanent teeth that will take their place. Sometimes, tooth decay or infection in baby teeth can create dark spots in the permanent teeth that are developing below – so keep your toothpaste ready!

All About Adult Teeth

As you now know, there are 32 adult teeth. These are known as permanent teeth. At our pediatric dentistry office in central Oregon, we often get parents who are concerned about “shark teeth.” Around age six, children will first lose their two lower front teeth. These are known as the central incisors and they can sometimes come in next to the primary tooth, along the tongue side of the mouth. 

While this might be a little alarming, most cases are harmless. Typically, the primary teeth are loose enough that they eventually fall out on their own. The tongue’s natural movement will help the permanent teeth shift forward into the correct position, and your baby shark will morph back into a regular child. 

Tooth Schedules in Pediatric Dentistry

Generally speaking, children lose their primary teeth from ages six to thirteen. However, there’s no strict timeline for what’s “normal” – every child is different! It’s actually common for kids in the same family to lose their teeth on different timelines or “tooth schedules.” Girls do usually experience tooth eruption before boys of the same age. 

With this in mind, if you feel like your child’s teeth are delayed in coming in or falling out, you should speak with a dentist. If this is you, schedule an appointment with us at our central Oregon pediatric dentistry office today – we’re here for you.

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